Some of the smartest ways to protect your home are also the simplest. Below are ideas that don’t cost a lot of cents but when it comes to home security they make plenty of sense.
Most Burglars Want to Avoid Interaction
Generally, people looking to steal and fence your valuables aren’t interested in running into you. They may dress in a uniform or are disguised as contractors or repairmen. They’ll pull up in a convincing truck and ring at your front door. If no one responds, they’ll get to work. Home robberies are most common on weekdays in broad daylight when no one’s home.
Most Burglars Aren’t Hard Workers. Don’t Overlook Your Easy Access Windows and Doors
Over one-third of home invasions in Perth happen by way of an unlocked window or door. Burglars are after fast, easy money. The easier a job is, the more likely your home is to host a quick grab-and-getaway.
To avoid easy access:
- Consider window and door lock upgrades
- Install the best locks you can
- Deadbolts and window pins are harder to hack
- Reinforce strike plates and wood doors
- Install tinted garage windows
- Don’t keep ladders or climbable apparatuses in the yard
- Hinges go on the insides of doors
- Change locks when you move in
- Don’t hand out keys willy-nilly and don’t leave keys in mailboxes or under doormats
- When you are at home, always ask who is at the door before answering
For additional information on how to better secure doors and windows, contact your local police or a trusted locksmith like Lock, Stock & Farrell. They may be able to do a walk-through home security evaluation for you.
Don’t Announce Extended Trips
What we mean by this is, as much as possible, make it appear as if someone is home. Or, rather, make it not appear as if someone is not home. Unless you plan to post a billboard on your lawn stating, “we are away for the week,” you might want to avoid these blunders too:
- The “loading of the car” show. If you’re heading out with luggage, don’t broadcast it by leaving car doors and trunks open with bags and suitcases hanging out. Pack your car inside a garage or have luggage ready in a pile indoors; load quickly and unobtrusively.
- The “we haven’t been here for days to accept deliveries” sequel. Contact your mailman and newspaper delivery services; ask them to hold mail and suspend deliveries. If you’re not comfortable with them knowing this, arrange for a trusted friend or neighbour to collect and hold for you. Don’t make purchases that will arrive and sit outside your house while you’re away. Don’t leave garbage pails or recycling bins out at the curb waiting for pick-ups.
- Don’t leave instructions for workmen taped to your front door and don’t arrange for any work to be done on your home while you’re away.
- Make sure your Facebook profile has the right security settings in place so your entire holiday isn’t plastered all over the public web for anyone to access
Now that you know a few things not to do, here are some things to be sure to do. They may not all be possible, but you can talk to a trusted security pro or your local police. They can advise you on making some of these things happen. (And by the way, these tips aren’t just for long trips. Lots of them should be employed every day.)
Lights and Timers
It’s true that your would-be burglar is aware of the below tactics, but, the more realistically they’re implemented, the better they’ll work. Think creatively about how to make the most of the lights, sounds, timers and motion sensors. Track your patterns of using lights and running TVs and radios when you’re home. This can help to inform you of how to make the most of some simple theft deterrents.
- Program timer lights to mimic natural at-home behaviour
- Timers aren’t just for lights. Other things you can rig to plug-in timers include: radios, MP3 players, televisions, recordings of dogs barking and people talking
- Motion-sensitive lights (indoors and out) are great for all-around safety. In addition to ‘coming and going’ they can be rigged to go on when a door or window is moved
- If your property has bushes, light them steadily at night (and keep them trim)
- Solar-charging outdoor lights cost nothing to run and can be picked up at good prices from places like Bunnings
Security Systems and Cameras
Any working security system is better than no working security system. Burglars have been known to avoid homes that ‘appear’ to have one, but it must be convincing – remember – this is their area of expertise. Do the best you can. Keep in mind:
- There are inexpensive, self-monitorable, door/window alarm systems
- Alarm system decals on windows and doors can help
- Have security cameras – as much as possible. An old laptop with a webcam can help
- If you have a security system – use it. Hide outdoor wiring. Change codes periodically
- Set your car alarm if you’re leaving the car at home
Three Kinds of Watch Dogs
The first refers to an actual dog. The second refers to the best mirage of a dog you can conjure up. The third refers to a few trusted neighbours. If you have a real dog, instead of kennelling it while you’re away, consider having a friend or family member come by to feed and walk it. Dogs really are the best watchmen. Find a sitter who will come several times a day and spend lots of time with your trusty pup. Better yet, find a willing, responsible dog/house sitter. In the absence of a dog, here are some alternative tips:
- ‘Beware of dog’ signs on a mailbox, gate or door can be discouraging to a would-be burglar. Try having more than one sign to make it more convincing, and make the sign(s) look like they’ve been up a while, not like you just went out and bought them.
- Nosy neighbours aren’t quite as effective as watch dogs, but they’re not a bad backup, particularly neighbours who are home a lot. Share your ‘away’ plans with a few trusted ones. Ask them to keep an eye on your door for you. Return the favour.
- Organise and participate in a neighbourhood watch program. Your local police department can assist here. And post warning signs around the neighbourhood.
If a Robbery Does Occur, You Might Be Glad You’ve Done These Things
Photograph recent, valuable purchases, including serial numbers, and add them to insurance policies. Keep those policies paid up to date. Etch labels and or lo-jack computers and valuables. Photocopy important documents and keep originals in a bank box or wall safe. Be creative about hiding jewellery.
If a break-in has occurred, don’t go in the house unless you’re sure they’ve gone and it’s safe. Call the police. Call your insurance company. Call any relevant credit or bank accounts.
Lock, Stock & Farrell has been helping to secure homes for 20 years. We take what we do very seriously and are happy to answer any questions we can for you. To speak to a security professional in Perth, please contact us.